Thirdmill Study Bible

Notes on 3 John 1:7-12

<< Previous Note(s)3 John Main PageNext Note(s) >>

For the sake of Jesus - 3 John 1:7

for the sake of the name. That is, for the sake of Jesus. This phrase is used five other times in the NT, and most of the time it has to do with people being persecuted because they are Christians (see notes on Acts 5:41; 9:16; 15:26; 21:13). John also talks about the opponents going out from the community, but they go out to deceive other people (see note on 2 Jn. 7). These missionaries went out to preach the gospel they had heard from the apostles in the beginning. Gentiles. John uses Gentile here in the sense of non-Christian. If the missionaries had gotten help from nonbelievers, it would mean the Christians in that area were not doing their job of taking care of traveling ministers. The word here specifically means Gentile individuals with Gentile beliefs (see notes on Matt. 5:47; 6:7; 18:17). This is similar to how Jesus told his disciples that if a sinful person would not listen to the church, the church should treat them like a Gentile (Matt. 18:17) - 3 John 1:8

welcome. This word means far more than welcome. It has the idea of lifting up a person, of supporting them. In 2 John 11, John warned his readers that showing hospitality to the false teachers would make them sharers in their evil work. Here, showing respect to missionaries will mean they are working together with them for the truth. Providing hospitality to travelling missionaries is how Christians can participate in the cause of truth. That makes them fellow workers for the truth

Not Walking in Truth - 3 John 1:9-10

Negative Contrast. This is the most critical point of the epistle. John sees a problem in the church (v. 9). It is possible John is worried that Diotrephes will deny what John wrote in his other letters. Diotrephes will lead the church astray if he tells the people to go against John’s leadership. So, John handles this difficult situation here, warning Gaius what lies ahead

Who loves to be first - 3 John 1:9

who loves to be first among them. This phrase could mean Diotrephes was not elected as an elder or deacon, but took power for himself. It might just mean John views him has a trumped-up dictator. It is also possible that Diotrephes did not allow anyone else to speak or teach in the church, wanting the community to only listen to him. There is no historical record of Diotrephes ever being charged with heresy, so it is likely that John is talking about how he did not allow anyone else to teach but him. Diotrephes is insecure, so he lusts for power. This kind of person does not accept the authority of the apostles. By not receiving the people that John sent, Diotrephes disrespected John as well. To receive people who are sent is the same as receiving the one who sent them (see notes on Jn. 5:23; 12:44-45; 13:20; 14:24)

Wicked nonsense - 3 John 1:10

wicked nonsense… refuses to welcome… stops… puts them out. On the arrival of an apostle, see notes on 2 Cor. 13:1-3, 10. See WLC 151. John names four specific things that Diotrephes is doing. He is spreading gossip about John and his community (see note on 1 Tim. 5:13). He refuses to welcome travelling missionaries endorsed by the apostles. He stops other people who want to welcome those missionaries (see notes on vv. 5-8). And if anyone does welcome those missionaries, Diotrephes throws them out of the church. This last point is very serious.
In 2 John, John warned his readers not to be hospitable to the opponents. But he did not threaten to excommunicate them if they did

Exhorting Hospitality - 3 John 1:11-12

John commends Gaius’ right behavior and right belief. It is clear that Gaius knows God (v. 11). John wants him to keep doing what he has been doing. John also commends Demetrius, talking about how trustworthy he is (v. 12)

Related Resources

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

<< Previous Note(s)3 John Main PageNext Note(s) >>